Three Washington, D.C., police officers will be referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution after a viral video showed one punching a black man repeatedly during an arrest.
Chief of Police Robert Contee condemned the actions of the police during a media briefing Monday.
“I have watched this video. I am embarrassed, disturbed, disheartened, and ashamed, of what I’ve seen,” Contee said.
The video shows a black man being arrested by three police officers when one starts punching him repeatedly in the face. Bystanders recording the incident ask why he’s being punched as they continue.
“We are an agency of more than 3,500 officers, and I assure the community this is not consistent with our training, our tactics, our policies, procedures, nor is it consistent with our agency’s values,” Contee added.
The video was widely circulated on social media:
@DCPoliceDept OFFICER SEEN PUNCHING A GUY IN THE FACE TODAY IN SOUTHEAST DC!!!!! WHERE IS THE WORLD WIDE MEDIA COVE… https://t.co/pXvh0FJ6Y3
— Killmoenews (@Killmoenews)1628476882.0
Police said they arrested Kiman Johnson, 23, after they saw him participate in a “hand-to-hand drug transaction.” They allege that they found an illegal gun when they patted him down.
All three officers were placed under non-contact status while the investigation was conducted.
Johnson was to be charged with possession of an unregistered firearm, carrying a pistol without a license, unlawful possession of ammunition, and assault on an officer while armed and resisting arrest. Later on Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s office dropped all charges against him.
The D.C. police union issued a statement defending the officers.
“The suspect had access to a loaded .45 caliber weapon, was resisting arrest and as such a danger to every person in range of a bullet,” the statement read. “We urge everyone to reserve judgment pending the outcome of the respective independent investigations.”
D.C. is experiencing a massive crime wave that led Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, to request $11 million to hire 170 additional police officers. The city council approved less than half of the money for new police, but marked the other half to be dedicated to social programs and other safety initiatives.
Here’s the media briefing with Chief Contee:
DC cop caught on camera repeatedly punching suspect placed on leave, chief says | FOX 5 DC